2023 Diagonale des Fous Results: Commanding Wins by Schide and Dunand-Pallaz

Results from the 2023 Diagonale des Fous, where Katie Schide and Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz led from start to finish.

By on October 20, 2023 | Comments

The 2023 Diagonale des Fous, or “Diagonal of Fools,” kicked off at 9 p.m. local time in Saint Pierre, on the south coast of Réunion Island, a French department in the Indian Ocean, on Thursday, October 19.

The unique 165-kilometer (102 miles) traverse, the longest race in the weekend-long Grand Raid Réunion festival, begins on the south side of the island with a partial ascent of active volcano, Piton de La Fournaise, and follows a spectacular route through UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the lands of Réunion National Park to finish on the north coast in the capital city of Saint-Denis. The race takes in roughly 10,000 meters (32,800 feet) of climbing and as much descending, on brutally technical terrain, and is seen as one of the most difficult 100 milers on the global race calendar.

This year’s race had a promising line-up, including UTMB’s 2022 winner, Katie Schide, and 2023 third-place man Germain Grangier. Fans were also thrilled with a surprising late addition — four-time Diagonale des Fous winner François D’Haene, who has been absent from the scene for a time due to injury and was spotted on the start line sporting a hand-written bib.

While women’s favorite Schide did not disappoint, with a commanding win over strong rivals including France’s Camille Bruyas; it was 2023 Hardrock 100 champion Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz who came out on top in the men’s race, with a similar runaway victory to what we saw from him at Hardrock.

Read on to see how both these races played out.

2023 Diagonale des Fous Women’s Race

Katie Schide has had two high profile second-place finishes this season — at the Western States 100, where the American living in France finished in the second fastest women’s time ever on the historic route, and at OCC, where she demonstrated her versatility by stepping down a distance and still competing at the highest level. At Diagonale des Fous, it was clear from the start that she would be hard to beat — leading from the get-go, and always with a comfortable gap on 2022 Les Templiers winner, Camille Bruyas, of France, in second.

Schide took it out hard from the first climb, and by Notre Dame De La Paix at 28k, already had an 18-minute lead on Bruyas. She gained even more ground on the second leg of the climb up to the race’s high point, Croisée Coteaux Kerveguen at 63.5k, where she topped out 29 minutes ahead of her chaser. Past the 100k point at Ilet À Bourse, she had stretched her lead further to an hour and 12 minutes, at this point looking impossible to catch.

While Schide was out on her own for almost the entirety of the race, so too was Bruyas, who always had a big gap on the rest of the field and never looked to be in danger. Summiting Croisée Coteaux Kerveguen at 63.5k, she was 23 minutes clear of Réunion Island’s own Emilie Maroteaux in third. It was a closer battle for third position, with Germany’s Eva-Maria Sperger following hot on Maroteaux’s heels, just two minutes behind at that point.

Schide continued her tour de force for the remaining 60k or so of the race — which had fewer big climbs, but covered ankle-breaking volcanic terrain — and ultimately finished in 27:31:08, an hour and 26 minutes clear of Bruyas in second. Bruyas finished with an even bigger lead on Maroteaux in third. After some close running and trading of places with Sperger earlier in the race, Maroteaux managed to pull away, securing the final podium position and the first local home in the women’s race with another big margin.

Katie Schide - 2023 Diagonale des Fous - women's winner

Katie Schide, the 2023 Diagonale des Fous champion. Photo: CANAL GRAND RAID

2023 Diagonale des Fous Women’s Results

  1. Katie Schide (U.S., lives in France) ─ 27:31:08
  2. Camille Bruyas (France) ─ 28:57:48
  3. Emilie Maroteaux (Réunion Island) ─ 30:38:02
  4. Eva-Maria Sperger (Germany) ─ 32:41:36
  5. Laure De Jacquelot (France) ─ 33:16:12
  6. Marcelle Vienne (Réunion Island) ─ 33:22:01
  7. Geraldine Prost (France) ─ 33:45:33
  8. Julia Harnie (France) ─ 34:42:23
  9. Sylvaine Cussot (Réunion Island) ─ 35:12:48
  10. Pauline Winer (Réunion Island) ─ 35:15:07

Full results.

2023 Diagonale des Fous Men’s Race

Early on in his career, in 2012, Frenchman Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz ran the 73k race at Grand Raid Réunion, placing fourth. Was a seed planted then to come back eventually and take on the 100-mile win? Who knows, but he started this race like someone on a mission. By Notre Dame De La Paix — 28k into the race with just over 1,600 meters climbed — he was just over a minute ahead of then second-place, France’s Germain Grangier, but was not giving up his marginal lead. Reaching Coteaux Kerveguen at 61k — just before cresting the race’s high point at roughly 2,500 meters — Dunand-Pallaz had pulled 12 minutes clear of the rest of the field, with his countryman Lambert Santelli then following in second.

Last year’s second-place man, Switzerland’s Jean-Philippe Tschumi — after moving around in the top 10 for the first half of the race — crept up the field to second place after 85k. He came close enough to make Dunand-Pallaz sweat, running just three minutes back of the leader around the 100k mark.

Tschumi held on to second for a long time, but Dunand-Pallaz reasserted his dominance, and had pulled more than a half hour clear of his chaser by Deux Bras at 128k, with most of the climbing done.

It was here too that Grangier made a move into second position. Like Tschumi, Grangier had been moving around the top 10 for the race’s first half, before settling into third position from 92k onward. It was on the second-to-last climb up to Dos D’ane where he finally got ahead of Tschumi.

Dunand-Pallaz continued to power ahead, ultimately finishing in 23 hours and 21 minutes, 39 minutes clear of Grangier in second. Tschumi followed in 24:28 for third, with Grangier having put significant time on him in the race’s closing section.

Grand Raid legend, Frenchman François D’Haene may or may not be back to full race fitness. He was briefly in podium position around the halfway point but fell back a little to ultimately finish in eighth place. Mid-race, his social media channels indicated that he was suffering from leg cramps. We hope this is only the start of his comeback.

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz - 2023 Diagonale des Fous men's winner

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz celebrates winning the 2023 Diagonale des Fous. Photo: CANAL GRAND RAID

2023 Diagonale des Fous Men’s Results

  1. Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (France) ─ 23:21:23
  2. Germain Grangier (France) ─ 24:00:54
  3. Jean-Philippe Tschumi (Switzerland) ─ 24:28:36
  4. Lambert Santelli (France) ─ 25:44:49
  5. Rémi Berchet (France) ─ 25:48:14
  6. Fabrice Payet (Réunion Island) ─ 25:48:44
  7. Alexis Sévennec (France) – 26:01:02
  8. François D’Haene (France) ─ 26:12:41
  9. Cédric Chavet (France) ─ 26:53:17
  10. Alexandre Boucheix (France) ─ 27:01:22

Full results.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.